the DSM follies (my letter to a blogger)

 hello, i just read your latest blog post -( how to avoid toxic people ) - WITH COFFEE ( regrettably ) and felt the need to write you regarding it. Unfortunately, i cannot find an e-mail for you and even if i could, i cannot be certain you would even read nor respond to it, so in the modern age of technical duality , i decided to respond … WITH MY OWN BLOG POST! 

first, let me tell you, i am a long-time subscriber and reader of your newsletter posts. i pre-ordered your book before its release date, read every word, loved most of those words and regularly consume with great appreciation your new HOW TO articles. . This last one, however...Hoping perhaps you can review and reconsider what you wrote and distributed . Referring to the DSM-V with the disclaimer “we shouldn’t run around diagnosing people…” and “i don’t want to contribute to the mental health stigma “, sent me into a circulatory rage. for the most part, i think a lot of people with diagnosed (self, psychiatrist, therapist or otherwise) mental disorders unintentionally manage to stigmatize themSELVEs more than anyone else BY using refrains like “END THE STIGMA”- simply because i do not believe the stigma is as prevalent today as perceived. Today, nearly everything (from school shootings to eating your own hair out of nervousness) is normalized. However, YOU managed to actually build another obstacle of misunderstanding, avoidance and alienation for so many strangers you know nothing about who are already beyond reluctant to reveal why they take medications or go to the hospital a lot , understandably fearing what mental images might come to mind - coupled with certain words and the common 3 step therapy-advised approach given to those who have a troubled-somebody in their lives- 1. TALK to them like a hippie GUIDANCE counselor.  2. IGNORE Them.  and if all else fails (and it will) 3. AVOID them.   mind you, i agree, the traits listed under narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders are ones to have little to no tolerance for and your broken down advice in dealing with each seems rational, albeit truthfully unrealistic when dealing with someone with a CLINICAL pathology of said traits. THe traits and criteria themSELVES for such disorders are just SO, SO VAGUe, you are doing a major injustice to EVERYBODY (afflicted or not) by merely mentioning the DSM ( all editions past, present and future ) .The DSM acts like the URban DIctionary of pseudo-scientific NAME calling in most recent decades, yet its sole purpose remains to assign names of conditions / disorders / behaviors to patients to apply to insurance codes for medical billing of treatments / office / hospital visits..  much like every yellow banana in a supermarket carries the produce code “4011”, except the DSM is labeling every mental health patient (AND hUMAN BEing) with titles and numbers to represent their very unique brains ( which are more individualized and unique than a fingerprint, in case you were unaware) AND ALSO their lives and experiences (just as and possibly MORE unique than the BRAIN) . DSM Diagnoses- comparably as vague and generalized as a newspaper's daily horoscopes - though somehow lends itself credibility to the uninformed, as it’s used in hospitals , laboratories and “SCIENCE”! ,,at its core, it’s meaningless bullshit. and where do they collect this data to determine who fits what diagnostic criteria and what should be included into the book?  a select group of fallible mortals who decide and VOTE on it, REALITY be damned. they are WORDS. they are NAMES. Ask any REAL SCIENTIST and they will readily agree. The DSM is a joke. - as is a LOT of the psychiatric field..(it’s a slow work in progress, anyway)  I am not saying mental illness does not exist (far from it) I am saying that the names associated with each are about as objectively scientific as the latin-based research expecting parents exert into naming their unborn children.  There is a ton of money to be made, behind it, i need not remind you. FOr the doctors, for the psychologists, the therapists, the hospitals and most gruesomely , for the pharmaceutical companies. THe names themselves (and the list of traits that can be applied to some degree in just about everyone.they are not there for distinguishing reasons. I have a strong feeling in the future, scientists, doctors and laymen alike will look back to the DSM and find it similar to the way we look at phrenology and daily horoscopes.  Homosexuality was once listed in the DSM as a personality affliction to be diagnosed with. Some people just repeatedly have poor circumstances.  you wouldn’t tell someone who kept getting hit by cars in crosswalks they had a walking disorder, would you?

With very few exceptions, we are all playing with the same structural deck of cards. Indeed, there is a spectrum for every diagnosis/ affliction and specific sexual organ diseases aside,  everybody is capable of landing somewhere on it. .From high blood pressure to schizophrenia. we are ALL ON “THE SPECTRUM”. Regardless,  the DSM is only used today for billing and confirmation bias of jilted friends, . By promoting its existence  , you are basically giving individuals dissatisfied with their personal interactions a free license to sling MENTAL SLURS at anybody having a basic mood swing. .Simply exhibiting mood swings does not make one bipolar or borderline. Reacting to a death of a person or a relationship does not make one clinically depressed.  Being suspicious of others does not make one paranoid. ANd it's NOT PARANOIA if it's TRUE!  i had a former-friend (an IT professional, as it were)  “become familiar with the DSM-V” this past summer.He very seriously sent me an e-mail saying i fit the criteria for and therefore must have “Delusional Disorder”.  if you are relentlessly told day in and day out by someone who claims to love you and have your best interests at heart that you have twelve fingers on each hand until you break down and agree with them, you are EVENTUALLY going to believe that you are have twenty-four fingers. No department store gloves are going to fit you, so why even bother trying them on. If someone new in your life suddenly makes a remark about your hands only having ten fingers, you might suspect they are lying or trying to pull wool over your eyes. You might not know their precise intentions, but It’s only natural to proceed cautiously. Military training, Religious Cults, POW camps, pedophiles and child-abductors all use comparable tactics. Groomed and conditioned, your self esteem falls through the cracks, along with bits of reality. That is by no means the fault of the abused and deserving of a label to FAULT THEM by. Let’s treat people individually and judge everybody on/by their own merits. There are too many articles about how to identify a narcissist, a sociopath, etc, It was great to see someone follow that up with practical advice but in referring to the DSM , i felt as though you threw a BIBLE at my face out of nowhere and hauntingly sang ‘AS IT IS WRITTEN’.    So many people read a LITTLE about a LOT these days and fail to question the source, follow up with actual research or think of the consequences before spouting off and spreading what they just learned (or belieVED they learned) . I’ve already been tarred and feathered with the DSM book of yesteryears and today..and i continue not to pay any mind to the labels, for they tell me nothing about myself,my life or how to kick ass at anything. TRIAL and error is the best even mental health professionals can offer. We all have our shit. Some of it's really fucked up. THe last thing any of us need is to be further alienated by having some smug bitch (your readers and that moronic EX-friend of mine)  throwing “SCIENCY-sounding CLAIMS”  up at and around our faces, with which to to classify ,discount and cast doubt upon our credibility (ironic, the  nAME-caster here is really the one whose credibility should be questioned, but their quasi-AWARENESS-offensive will give them a certain level of protection until the truth is revealed. Appearances and words can be VERY deceiving and in this day and age, especially, i think more people ought to be reminded OF that. We are all unique assholes and no one is deserving of aggressive scarlet lettering, be it socially or pseudo-scientifically.  BY THE WAY... i’m no expert on borderline personality disorder, but recently read an article in “psychology today.. “ hang on. i’ll go grab it and take a photo of the pertinent bits, because in regards again to your blog post /newsletter,  it appears as though you are shooting at people who are already bleeding to death.  See attached photos for elaboration.